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KENYA: Experts rally for agroforestry, commercial tree farming
In 2010 and 2009, Kenya lost a whopping 5.8 billion Kenya shillings (US$68 million) and 6.6 billion shillings ($77 million), respectively, to deforestation, a new report released by the government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reveals.
This is despite the fact that forestry-related commercial activities brought just 1.3 billion shillings into the national economy in the same period.
In calculating the losses, the researchers took into account: the effect of decreased river flow on irrigation; the incidence of malaria resulting from deforestation; the loss of productive soils caused by erosion; the effect of reduced water quality on inland fishing; and the above-ground carbon storage value lost.
The report further reveals that the country has long undervalued the contribution of forests to its GDP. That contribution is currently estimated to be 1.1 percent, but the report holds that forests actually contribute about 3.6 percent to the country’s GDP.
Experts say the country – rather that concentrating on managing and preserving government-owned forests – should focus on increasing agroforestry and promoting commercial tree farming.